Paging Michael Mukasey. The leader of the CIA interrogation team that handled Abu Zubaydah, head of al-Qaeda's military committee, says he had Abu Zubaydah waterboarded -- which was torture, and, he says, necessary to prevent "maybe dozens of attacks." ABC has the bombshell interview:
In the first public comment by any CIA officer involved in handling high-value al Qaeda targets, John Kiriakou, now retired, said the technique broke Zubaydah in less than 35 seconds.
"The next day, he told his interrogator that Allah had visited him in his cell during the night and told him to cooperate," said Kiriakou in an interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC News' "World News With Charles Gibson" and "Nightline."
"From that day on, he answered every question," Kiriakou said. "The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks."
Kiriakou is now the first official to acknowledge the use of waterboarding on any detainee in CIA custody. But his account of Abu Zubaydah's intelligence value contradicts Ron Suskind's 2006 book The One Percent Doctrine, which reported that Abu Zubaydah was borderline retarded and didn't have more than minor, tactical information about al-Qaeda. Needless to say, Kiriakou is also the first official to say unequivocally that Abu Zubaydah or any other detainee was tortured.